Hampshire one win away from Twickenham final

Pierre-Alex Clark scored three tries as Hampshire thrashed Berkshire 46-0 in the RFU Championship Shield   Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Pierre-Alex Clark scored three tries as Hampshire thrashed Berkshire 46-0 in the RFU Championship Shield Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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Hampshire are just one game away from a showpiece Twickenham final after demolishing Berkshire 46-0 at Reading in the RFU Championship Shield.

The County side will travel to meet either Warwickshire or Buckinghamshire in the semi-finals at the end of this month.

Team manager Simon Burns insists there is a real belief within the squad that they can go all the way.

‘This was even better than our opening win against Dorset & Wilts and we played really well,’ said Burns.

‘We stepped our game up another level and all the players are buying into our vision.

‘They all want to play at Twickenham and realise that to achieve that they have to put in the effort.

‘We have instilled in them a great sense of pride in representing the county – our job has been to make it feel important for them.

‘Little things like having players’ names on the back of their shirts and plaques above their places in the changing rooms all make a difference.

‘For any player to have the chance of playing at Twickenham is also a big carrot.’

Hampshire scored eight tries with outside half Pierre-Alex Clark leading the way with a hat-trick.

Clark set the county side on their way after 12 minutes with Alex Sutherland adding a second try just five minutes later.

The second try followed excellent work from the forwards who set up the position to move the ball wide for the full-back to score.

Further tries from forwards Joe Tarrant and Joe Rees ensured that Hampshire had the bonus point in the bag by the 36th minute.

Tight-head prop Tarrant piled over from short range on the stroke of half-time to give the visitors a 29-0 lead at the break.

Hampshire could afford to take their foot off the pedal in the second period though Clark went on to score another two tries.

Bournemouth winger Luke Chandler put the icing on the cake with a final try in injury-time at the end of the game.

‘Once again our forwards provided the platform with another dominant performance,’ said Burns.

‘They pushed the Berkshire scrummage backwards all day and our lethal backs were able to take advantage.

‘It’s pleasing to see the way this squad of players have gelled.

‘Everyone knows, however, this is just a beginning and we have to keep up the hard work in the next few weeks.’

Hampshire: Alex Sutherland (Bournemouth), Wayne Dugan (Gosport & Fareham), Robbie Searle (Tottonians), Joel Knight (Havant), Luke Chandler (Bournemouth), Pierre-Alex Clark (Tottonians), Wes Dugan (Gosport & Fareham), Joe Tarrant (Bournemouth), Ben Alman (Bournemouth), Ken Dowding (Chichester), Ali Ramus (Tottonians), Elliott Worrall (Ivybridge), Joe Ress (Bournemouth), Steve Cruddas (Havant), Gav Hart (Havant).

Replacements : Luke Marks (Havant), Ryan Wilkie (Portsmouth), Tom Hankey (Portsmouth), Harrison Young (Havant), Darren Crabb (Portsmouth), Harry Dolbear (Tottonians), Jake Hiscock (Winchester).